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of pride, "To whom am I account'' able for my conduct?"
With grief the father of Frederic beheld the fatal consequences of his own too fond indulgence; but he had now lost all authority; for Frederic, at sixteen, was by the will of a grandmother put in possession of an independent fortune. He had lost his mother in infancy, and his father now married again; but though the connection promised to augment his domestic happiness, and was in every respect a suitable one, it unfortunately did not please his son, who thought he had a right to be offended, not because his father pleased himself, but because he had not consulted him.
It will to you, I am assured, appear extremely unnatural, that the partial affection of a father should meet with
this unworthy return. It was not, however, in fact unnatural; for it was the inevitable consequence of the selfishness which that partiality had been the means of nurturing, while no generous principle had been implanted to check its growth.
Frederic and Albert were about the same time - sent upon their travels; and though the estates of their fathers were contiguous, had seen little of each other till they now met in Germany. Each was accompanied by his tutor. The person who attended Albert in that capacity was far from being worthy of the important trust, to which he had been recommended by a nobleman who knew little of his real character. It was soon, however, discovered by Albert, who, through all his pretensions, saw the meanness of his soul. His principles were now too well fixed to be
injured injured by the society of one, who was as much his inferior in talents as in virtue; but he confessed he could scarcely forbear envying Frederic on account of the advantages he enjoyed, in having as the companion of his travels, a gentleman of amiable manners, elevated sentiments, and highly accomplished mind.
It may. appear extraordinary, that this gentleman should have been fixed upon by Frederic himself, as the only person with whom he would go abroad: and that he was in this so peremptory, as positively to tell his father, that unless he prevailed on Mr. Milner to accompany him, he never would quit England. But then it must be remembered, that Mr. Milner had just refused assent to a similar application from a nobleman of superior rank, of whom Frederic was particularly jealous, and over whom
he he considered it as a triumph to pre* vail. Mr. Milner's character too, his connections, his situation in life, and above all that spirit of independence, which rendered him so extremely reluctant to put himself in any degree in the power of another, were additional incentives, stimulating Frederic to such exertions as he never before had made in any virtuous enterprize.
Motives, indeed, of a nature far less excusable than any of those which I have now mentioned, were afterwards discovered by Mr. Milner: but those we have no business at present to disclose. Suffice it to say, that Mr. Milner, though he knew what Frederic's conduct had in some instances been, was from his conversation led to believe, that he had deeply repented of his former errors, and that he was now a convert to
virtue, virtue, upon conviction and prut* ciple. Animated by the hope of confirming him in his good resolutions, and warmed by contemplating the picture his imagination drew, of the beneficial consequences which might result to society from the character which, he flattered himself, he should in a great measure have it in his power to form, Mr. Milner, yielding rather to the feelings of his own heart, than to the solicitations of Frederic, consented to accompany him: he consented without, on his part, having made either treaty or stipulation; nor did it ever enter into the old gentleman's mind to doubt the sincerity of the strong expressions of esteem and gratitude which his young friend so very liberally bestowed.